The McLaren MP4-12C project didn't have too many past image element to refer to, so the designers were presented with a blank screen that only displayed the word "aerodynamics". In the corner, written in a small font, lied one or two mentions of McLaren F1 styling elements.
The front end of the MP4-12C has a low presence, thanks to the fact that it doesn't have to accommodate the engine cooling radiators, which are found on the sides of the supercar. Instead, the nose of the supercar accommodates the intercoolers for the turbochargers. Unlike the Ferrari 458 or the Lamborghini Gallardo, which have front-mounted radiators, the McLaren MP4-12C needs less piping and coolant.
The front apron features greedy air intakes, as well as Bi-Xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights
that resemble the McLaren logo
In spite of using the aforementioned feature, to our eyes, it seems that the front fascia of the MP4-12C somehow resembles that of the Ferrari 458 Italia. Speaking of this, we've been assaulted with requests to mention that our guest editor Lou Cheeka
has a strong opinion on this.
We’ll move on to the windscreen of the MP4-12C, which is low and uses a pantograph wiper in order to save weight, just like in the case of the McLaren F1.
Another feature inherited from the F1 comes in the form of the dihedral doors
. This solution requires a smaller door opening than in the case of conventional doors and brings special access benefits in extra tight parking situations.
As we said above, McLaren has placed the engine cooling radiators on the sides of the MP4-12C. This means that the supercar features two imposing air intakes. These use a dual-opening design with curves that once again remind us of the McLaren logo.
The rear of the McLaren MP4-12C is the most special part of the car, in terms of both visual and aerodynamic effects. This is also where the MP4-12C puts the serious attitude aside an pulls a few striptease moves. The rear deck allows us to get a glimpse of the V8 engine
, while the lower rear fascia
allows us to guess the silhouette of the rear diff though a mesh grille. The rear end design of the McLaren MP4-12C shows even more tech skin by using high-mounted exhaust tips.
We didn't expect to use the word "sexy" for this codec-named car, but the geeks inside of us were electrified by these features.
To surround the aforementioned tailpipes, the designers have chosen a horizontal black bar setup that conceals slim all-LED rear lights - there are five horizontal bars, with the upper two also serving as light clusters, but the latter are only visible when they’re on.
The rear lighting setup provides plenty of eye candy, but the LEDs aren’t totally visible during daytime. This reminds us of the Lamborghini Gallardo
’s thin LED taillights, which showed similar characteristics.
The British carmaker has also gifted the MP4-12C with an Airbrake
, a feature shared with the McLaren F1 and Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.
The MP4-12C’s Airbrake raises to an angle of 32 degrees to provide downforce - you can set it free using a dedicated button on the center console. The wing is hydraulically deployed during braking, when it goes all the way up to 69 degrees.
The Airbrake is activated via a piston operated by transmission hydraulics. However, in order to save weight, the piston only raises the wing up to a certain angle, where a small amount of it enters the airflow and this raises to its maximum position.
When it comes to MP4-12C aerodynamics, the Airbrake works together with multiple passive elements: a nose splitter that provides front end downforce, a flat underbody, as well as front and rear wheels guide vanes that send air towards the rear diffuser.
In the end, when it comes to styling drama, the McLaren MP4-12C doesn’t quite manage to match its intoxicating level of technical complexity.Continue reading
Hold on, Sir May B. Bach would like to say something...
I wish to express my sincere apologies for Lou Cheeka’s... ahem... editorial behavior. In his defense, he probably confused McLaren with Ferrari due to his severe fever - the poor man was affected by the Ebola outbreaks that took place in 2012 and it seems that he still hasn’t totally left the problem behind. And, if we are honest, the front fascia of the British supercar is not actually all that far in terms of styling from that of an... ahem... Ferrari.
Read the full opinion and flame the editor →